When is my personal brand "done"?Feb 10, 2020
I was at an event where an artist was painting. She did big, bright, bold abstracts. Her work really drew me in. After staring for a few minutes, I asked her, “how do you know when it’s done?”
She laughed. “That’s a good question.” Then she explained that she knew the painting was finished when she had achieved the right balance of colour and shapes on the canvas. She pointed to what she meant and kept painting.
Recently, I was chatting with a friend about her personal brand. “And, how do I know when I’m done?” she asked me. I thought about the abstract painting. Just like the painting, there are certain elements required in a personal brand. But my answer is different from the painter’s because there are two ways to answer the question!
First of all, I love getting this question! It tells me the person is interested in results and they want to make sure their time is being used wisely. This question in particular fits nicely with the theme I’ve been working with lately: back to basics, where I talk about the most common personal branding questions I get (what are the benefits of having a personal brand for example).
When it comes to having a personal brand, there is still some confusion. Check out my previous blog posts explaining what it means to have a personal brand if you aren’t quite sure. The interesting thing is, I work with a lot of business owners who say, I have a logo and a website but I don’t know how to explain what I do. Well, in spite of the logo and website, you don’t have a personal brand.
So, here’s the truth: You’re never “done” working on your personal brand. It’s something you take time to intentionally articulate and grow, then consistently execute. You’ll also need to evolve your brand over time as you evolve and grow, taking on new skills, roles and adding to your accomplishments. Here are some things you can expect when you do this well:
People work for your company because of you and your reputation
People approach you about a job you’d be great for, rather than the other way around
Media reach out to you for your expertise
Your business or client base is growing faster than others because people feel a connection to you
You can get people at work to agree to doing something differently
These are just a few examples of results you get from a strong personal brand.
Say you’re starting to develop your personal brand, you won’t see results like I’ve listed above right away, so how do you know when you’re done?!? Short term, you know you have a personal brand when you can confidently and clearly tell people the unique value you provide.
Think of it like this: Your job is to take an abstract painting (your skills, personality, experience, accomplishments, abilities, etc.) and make it a realist painting. You want people to walk away from you and know exactly what you do and the value you bring. You also want the right people to feel like they have a genuine connection with you.
This means you need to think about your audience. What do they need to know about you in order to understand your value? What accomplishments or other parts of yourself communicate that? You should start to see your painting shift from abstract to more realist.
Now, I know it’s easy to get really fired up about our work and start talking in circles about what we do. (hello, abstract painting!!) But that fire is only more reason to get clear. If you do great work, it benefits others and they deserve to know about it!! If you know you can be doing more, making a bigger impact, getting buy-in for your ideas, getting bigger roles with more responsibility - then being able to tell people the unique way you bring value, with clarity and confidence, is critical.
I want to hear from you now! Tell me what you do below. If you have trouble answering - or making a “realist” painting - that’s ok you’re not alone. I can help with that!
Build Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn
Become in demand in your career or business.